Celebs Who Were Wasted On Live TV

Most of us have had a few rough nights we'd rather forget. But imagine if one of "those nights" wound up shared with the whole damn world, your every cringeworthy gaffe dissected in real time: the slurring and stumbling, the fumbling flirtations, the incoherent proclamations? Though it sounds like a scenario straight out of hell, a few unlucky celebs have suffered this humiliating kerfuffle in real life — because they got soused right before a live television appearance.

Whereas most people can simply shove their most mortifying moments under the rug, these hapless stars must watch helplessly (and with a monster hangover) as their midnight of the soul winds up on prime time. To make matters worse, these sodden skirmishes inevitably go viral and become legendary "fails" destined to live forever on the internet. 

Some examples are desperately sad, while others serve as cautionary tales. Other drunken escapades are simply brilliantly absurd and will only get better with age. Like a fine Paul Masson wine in Orson Welles' preposterously drunk paw, these particular examples should be celebrated for their excellence. 

Without further ado, let's take a look at some stars who appeared to be totally drunk on live TV.

​Mark Wahlberg's finest performance?

There's "Good Vibrations," and then there's... whatever's going on with Mark Wahlberg here. During a long, unsteady, and notorious appearance on The Graham Norton Show in 2013, Wahlberg did his best to promote his film Broken City — but the segment comes off more like an audition for Leaving Las Vegas 2: Return To Vegas. The highlights are many, including the part when Wahlberg hunkers down on Norton's lap and languidly tweaks his nipples.

Rather than let slurring dogs lie, Wahlberg tried to tell Digital Spy the whole thing was a pre-planned prank — a romp in the Andy Kaufman mold — and that he concocted the idea with some help from Silverman. "I tried to do a bit," he says, "and some people took it a little too seriously." Well, in some people's defense, it's a very convincing bit.

In 2017, Norton recounted the interview during an appearance on This Morning with Phillip and Holly. He revealed they literally "couldn't get any stories going" because Wahlberg kept interrupting everybody. At one point, Norton remembers Fassbender finally succeeded in telling an anecdote from start to finish, and Norton thought to himself, "Wow, this must be a good story because Mark Wahlberg is letting him tell it!"

Wahlberg had simply fallen asleep. "We didn't wake him," Norton reveals. "We were delighted."

Danny DeVito's limoncello vs. The View

In 2006, Danny DeVito effectively turned The View inside out after a wild night out with fellow actor George Clooney. His blazingly drunk appearance is almost life-affirming in its awkwardness, with the segment finding DeVito covering huge swaths of ground: He refers to George W. Bush as "numb n**s", says he "knew it was the last seven limoncellos that were going to get me," and then runs out of words and fills in the blanks with strange sounds.

So just how much did DeVito drink the night before? During a 2006 appearance on The Today Show (via People), Clooney was kind enough to fill in some of the blanks (or, to be more precise, the en bloc blackouts). "I got to the point where I was dumping the shots into a plant next to me," he revealed, "and I don't think ... Danny saw me do that." If Clooney can be trusted, these two mercurial spirits weren't even on a tear that night. They were merely out to dinner and Clooney "was in bed by 11:30 at night."

We suspect DeVito kept the party going after Clooney hit the hay, but we'll never know for sure — and neither will DeVito. He admitted he wasn't clear on whether he'd even gone to bed that night.

​One day you'll ache like Courtney Love aches

It begins, as such stories often do, with Courtney Love hurtling her makeup compact in the air, and having it whiz past a visibly bristly Madonna.

The year is 1995. The event is the MTV Video Awards. Eternally droll television personality Kurt Loder interviews Madonna, who robotically answers questions about the "smoochiness" in her life. Perhaps mercifully, the back-and-forth banter is cut short by an electrically elsewhere Courtney Love, seemingly disengaged from reality but all too keen to engage with Madonna. Loder makes the perfect worst choice by inviting the wobbly "Doll Parts" singer onstage ("Come on up!") despite Madonna's protestations ("No, don't, please!")

What follows is a fumbled handshake, Love's assurance that she would never punch anybody ("I've never clocked a soul!"), and a whole lot of gobbledygook about astrophysics and Warren Beatty. At one point, Madonna stiffly throws some shade about "a lot of available drugs." Later, it's time for the inevitable shoe showdown: Love wears Charles Jourdan, Madonna wears Gucci, and Loder apparently wears shoes made from "a baby pony that was beaten to death"... because, by that point, why not?

Paula Abdul: Straight-up sloppy

In January 2007, Paula Abdul made a very out-there appearance on a Seattle television show that found her swaying in her seat, laughing conspiratorially about nothing, clasping her hands, winking beguilingly, and slurring incoherently about "a wild party." At times, it seemed like there might be some audio delay problems behind the scenes. Other times, Abdul was apparently receiving transmissions from some distant solar system.

After the clip went viral, a spokesperson for Abdul said everybody was making "much ado about nothing," according to People. In a subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show, Abdul told Jay Leno the interview was part of a chaotic press junket: "You're in that one little room and you're looking at one camera and there are 30 cities talking into your ear," she explained, later quipping, "I answered the right question in one of the cities."

Really, though? Around the same time, Abdul made another batty appearance on San Francisco's KTVU. At one point, interviewer Ross McGowan and his "low, appropriately condescending" voice asks her: "Do you always wiggle around that much?" Abdul answers, "I'm a dancer! I'm a dancer! I'm doing dance moves!" If we had to name that dance move, we'd call it The Messy Bessie.

​Anna Nicole Smith: Bombed bombshell

In 2004, the late Playboy model and reality star Anna Nicole Smith graced the American Music Awards with her unique brand of theatricality. She staggered up to the podium and slurred through her introduction to Kanye West, hailing him a "freaking genius." Visibly out of sorts, she stumbled, mugged for the cameras, groped herself, and huskily asked the crowd, "Like my body?" much to their whooping delight. The clip exists at the very center of the laugh-or-cry conundrum.

The story behind the bizarre public appearance is rather heartbreaking. On the 10th anniversary of Smith's death, her ex-partner Larry Birkhead appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and explained the circumstances that lead up to the sorry scene. Birkhead claimed breast enhancement surgery caused Smith to suffer chronic back pain among other serious ailments. "The night before she did that award show, she actually suffered two seizures," he says.

Birkhead allegedly begged Smith not to make the appearance, but she wouldn't be swayed. Instead, she took "something to stay awake that her doctor had given her." He says Smith was only taking prescribed medication, but he wouldn't be surprised if she'd been abusing it.

In 2007, Smith died of an accidental overdose at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino. She was 39.

A very special appearance by Bill Murray

Once you've jumped out of a cake and slugged vodka shots with David Letterman, how do you top off the night? In May 2015, actor Bill Murray stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman to be, in Letterman's parlance, their "next-to-the-last show guest." He sat with Letterman taking shots from a bottle of Slovenia vodka  — "It goes down like Slovenian mother's milk" — and intoned cryptic bon mots that really can't be paraphrased: "You've had a wonderful run... you fell in love and you married a virgin who gave birth to an infant god child ... then your wife gave up the virgin thing completely and you've been rolling ever since." To which Letterman gingerly put the vodka away.

And that was all merely a taste of the mischief to come. Following the Letterman appearance, Murray reportedly went out to "to dinner and had oysters, rose wine, red wine, and duck." Later, he appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word to discuss the end of Letterman's reign on The Late Show. Everything went next-level loopy, with Murray spectacularly falling out of a chair and slurring up a storm.

​Tracy Morgan is acting awfully funny

In 2007, former 30 Rock actor Tracy Morgan pitted himself against a Texas morning show — and the morning show lost. Morgan became transfixed on his own visage in the monitor ("Ooh, I look good. ... I am handsome! Now I can see why I've got so many kids!"). He also repeatedly smacked his belly, insisting it was some kind of "mating call." Basically, he outdid Tracy Jordan, the crazed character he portrayed for seven seasons on 30 Rock.

"I wasn't drunk," Morgan told the What's So Funny? podcast in 2011. "People are idiots. ... They like to just say things on the internet. They weren't there." We weren't there and we might be idiots, but we can clearly see how someone might think Morgan is w-w-wasted in the clip. Points of interest: After he loses his mic (while ripping off his shirt), Morgan taunts the crew, shouting: "Come on, don't go to break, this is Texas!" After he confidently announces he's a sex symbol, interviewer Robert Holguin patronizingly answers: "Look at your physique... that's very impressive. That's nice!"

Basically, nothing that happens in this clip isn't completely strange.

Steve-O's wildest stunt?

During a 2005 appearance on The Adam Carolla Show, professional loon Steve-O (of Jackass and Wildboyz fame) was admittedly drunk, allegedly tried to kiss the host "with his tongue", spat repeatedly, and was almost entirely incomprehensible the entire time.

Carolla does his best to spin the appearance in a humorous vein ("Steve-O has had a couple of glasses of chardonnay...") but the segment manages to be intensely uncomfortable from start to finish. One minute Steve-O is praising the host ("I love Adam Carolla so hard") and the next, he's threatening to strangle him out of his own consciousness. Later, he wrestles Carolla out of his seat, falls on the floor, stomps a glass table to bits, and yells "I don't play!" at least six times. After a commercial break, Steve-O is gone in the literal sense, and Carolla announces that he "got a little out of hand, cut his foot, and needed to be restrained and taken backstage." If any of this sounds remotely fun to watch, it's not.

The next morning, Steve-O told the New York Post (via E! Online), "I just woke up with no recollection of taping Adam's show. Wow. I can't help being more proud of myself." In this case, pride did indeed come before the fall: After Steve-O threatened suicide, Johnny Knoxville staged an intervention in 2008. In March 2018, Steve-O celebrated ten years of sobriety, according to People.

James Brown felt good — way too good

In 1988, the late, self-professed "Godfather of Soul" James Brown found himself in serious legal trouble. Following allegations that he assaulted his wife and fired a rifle at her, an unbelievably wasted Brown suddenly appeared on televisions across the land, answering for his alleged crimes through the power of song. It all begins with a bang — asked how his troubles started, the beaming musician, clad in humungous insectoid sunglasses, belts out the chorus to "Living In America." When interviewer Dr. Sonya Friedman mentions he's out on bond, Brown responds: "I'm out on love!" It then becomes clear he's out of his friggin' mind.

Dr. Friedman asks Brown what he plans to say to fans when they ask him about the charges. He responds, "I'm gonna say, 'I feel good!'" After standing up to do a little shimmy (or something?), Brown is asked if divorce proceedings have begun: "Yes, I'm eligible!" he barks. "I'm single and I wanna mingle!" Then, he casually mentions his sex appeal can be chalked up to four things: "I look good, I smell good, I feel good... and make love good." 

In 2016, comedian Jordan Peele recreated the entire interview in a truly amazing bit, thus introducing the insane pop culture calamity to a whole new generation of mortified viewers.

​Kanye West pulled the ultimate Kanye West

Remember this old chestnut? In 2009, Taylor Swift accepted the award for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards for "You Belong To Me," saying, "I sing country music, so thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a VMA award!" Her speech was interrupted by a seemingly booze-addled Kanye West, who bounded onstage and yanked the microphone away from the "Bad Blood" singer. 

As boos rang out, West announced Beyoncé should've won the award for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)", which he declared "one of the best videos of all time!" West was subsequently escorted out of Radio City Music Hall. In a now-deleted blog, he wrote after the show, "I'm sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom" (via MTV News.)

Commenting on the brouhaha in 2013, West told Ryan Seacrest on the KIIS-FM morning show (via E! Online) that he "would not want some crazy drunk rock star cutting off my daughter." However, West felt obliged to add, "But my daughter would 100 percent also be like, 'Yes, Beyoncé did have the best video.'"

You know, it's that kind of thinking that makes Taylor Swift do... whatever it is she does.

​Jack Sparrow has nothing on Johnny Depp

In 2014, Johnny Depp gave a long, rambling speech at the Hollywood Film Awards that was far more swashbuckling than anything Jack Sparrow ever did in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. After taking issue with the "weirdest microphone" he'd ever seen in his life, Depp takes a stab at presenting an award for the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Plenty gets lost in translation as Depp curses and blearily reads aloud from a teleprompter, at one point commenting that "it's one of those nights."

It's quite a contrast from the Johnny Depp who conspicuously drank a non-alcoholic beer while talking to Rolling Stone in 2013, telling the publication he hadn't consumed actual alcohol in a year and a half. Claiming he perhaps got along "too well" with wine and spirits, Depp called alcohol his "self-medication" to calm "the circus", cryptically adding, "Once the circus kicks in, the festivities in the brain, it can be ruthless..." 

Perhaps the "circus" finally came to town just before the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards. That might explain why Depp was acting like a clown.